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August 16, 2023

Two of Pen Bay Medical Center’s buildings sold for housing development

buildng street old grass Courtesy / The Boulos Co. Pen Bay Medical Center closed the Knox Center last month, due to the building's age and inefficiencies.

Pen Bay Medical Center has completed the sale of the Knox Center and the Bok Building in Rockland to Knox Center LLC, a Rockland-based company, for an undisclosed price.

Both buildings will be used to provide much-needed housing in the Knox County city, according to the real estate firm that brokered the deal.

Knox Center, at 6 White St., until recently housed a long-term nursing care facility. Pen Bay, a 99-bed hospital operated by MaineHealth in adjoining Rockport, closed the Knox Center during the week of July 17. Residents were given the option of transferring to an independently owned nursing care facility, Breakwater Commons, off Old County Road in Rockland.

Terms of the sale allow Pen Bay to lease back space for the hospital's laundry facility at the Knox Center.

The Bok Building, at 22 White St. in Rockland, is home to Pen Bay’s walk-in care practice, primary care offices and human resources office. The sale terms also allow Pen Bay to lease back the Bok Building, providing walk-in care at the site while Pen Bay identifies and develops a new location for the practice.  

brick building and parking lot
Courtesy / The Boulos Co.
The Bok Building will continue to offer walk-in care while Pen Bay identifies and develops a new location.  

“Knox Center LLC has worked diligently with MaineHealth to ensure there is no disruption to any existing services,” the buyer said in a statement. “Knox Center is excited to be involved with a property that is uniquely situated to complement Rockland’s rich history and downtown revitalization.”

Housing development

The sale was brokered by Chris Paszyc of the Boulos Co.

“Knox Center LLC provided a compelling proposal in terms of price, closing timeframes and flexibility on transition plans post-closing,” Paszyc said. The buildings were on the market for about 60 days, followed by a call for offers. 

“We had a positive response with multiple qualified buyers submitting aggressive proposals,” Paszyc said.

The focus of Knox Center LLC is housing development, Paszyc told Mainebiz.

He continued, “Originally, we thought the facility lent itself to reuse for quasi-medical uses such as rehabilitation centers. However, the city made it clear that they wanted to see the facility re-used to develop workforce housing. Therefore, we focused our time and resources on identifying suitors in the housing development industry.”

“We are confident that both the Knox Center and the Bok Building will continue to serve vital roles in Rockland and Knox County,” Pen Bay President Denise Needham said in a separate statement.

Knox Center

Built in 1930, the 71,500-square-foot Knox Center was converted from a hospital to a 44-bed nursing home in 1976, with 84 licensed beds, providing long-term nursing care and short-term skilled therapy and rehab. Needham said the building’s age and design made it inefficient for that use when compared to newer facilities designed specifically for long-term care residents and short-term skilled patients, such as Breakwater Commons.

The 69,000-square-foot Breakwater Commons offer 96 beds for short- and long-term nursing care patients and residents. It will welcome nursing care residents from the Knox Center and from Quarry Hill, a retirement community in Camden that will remain open with a focus on its retirement cottages, independent and assisted living apartments, and its memory care unit.

Bok Building

The Bok Building was constructed in the early 1930s as a dormitory for nurses in training at the adjacent Knox County General Hospital. When the training program was closed in 1943, the building was renovated to provide office space for physicians and became known as the Bok Medical Arts Building. 

Purchased by Pen Bay in 1992, the building has provided office space for several hospital departments over the years, including human resources and marketing and communications, as well as for several community organizations.  

Recognizing the need to increase access to health care in the Rockland area, Pen Bay opened its walk-in care office in the Bok Building in 2021. The high volume of patients seeking care confirmed the need for the service and Pen Bay expanded the walk-in offices less than a year later.

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